Top 10 movies on Sexual Perversions

A tour through our favorite films on human perversions as rapresented by cinema.

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5. Nymphomaniac

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The two-part art erotic drama written and directed by Danish director Lars von Trier is a pearl that cannot be missed when it comes to perversions. With a bitter reflection on sexuality, Nymphomaniac closes the trilogy on depression that saw von Trier directing in succession first Antichrist and then Melancholia.

The closing episode explores the discovery of sexual desires and the erotic life of a nymphomaniac, Joe, from her birth until the age of 50, as told to her encounterer Elder Seligman, who has found Joe’s bloody body on the ground. Nymphomaniac represents the acme of an amoral human (more often Joe, tells her stories in order to gather a morale) and anaffective condition, where sex emerges as a self-defense mechanism and falls coherently along the entire path of the film (as in Melancholia, when the character played by Kirsten Dunst has sex with a stranger on a golf course a few hours after the wedding in response to the progressive depression she is going to experience).

While it may be difficult to evaluate the work in its entirety at a first view, the feeling left behind is that Lars Von Trier has been able to jeer his spectators once again, keeping constant his number of enthusiasts and detractors. In the alienation, insensitivity and emotional opacity Nymphomaniac transmits, there is all the coherence of an innate talented director, who finds in cinema, as well as in reality, new and surprising hermeneutics to dwell on.  Following the epiphanic revelation of its second part, Nymphomaniac is therefore a work to reflect on to question ourselves on our inner desires and obsessions.

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6. Secretary


Let’s now move to S&M.

The 2002 film directed by Steven Shainberg is a witty, romantic comedy permeated with black humor and sadism, based on a short story from Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill.

Winner at the Sundance Film Festival 2002 of the Special Jury Prize for Originality, Secretary is a little jewel of perversion that has its heroine in a secretary, Lee Hollowy, just being dropped by a psychiatric clinic after an attempted suicide. The girl (Maggie Gyllenhaal) finds herself employed in a law firm where she establishes a vicious BDSM relationship with a hateful attorney, E. Edward Grey (James Spader). Lee is increasingly abandoned to the punishments she receives with growing physical and sexual ferocity while falling for her master.

An off-Hollywood style made Secretary good for the Sundance Festival, as an independent comedy on the least classic of love stories. The film mainly focuses on the performances of James Spader, who has long escaped his nerd role in Stargate, and the adorable Maggie Gyllenhall. In particular, Gyllenhall is perfect in her fragile appearance, ridiculous and quite naive clothes, the strange and insecure walk of the first part, and the casual, cheeky one of the second, resulting in an always seductive behavior.

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The music from Angelo Badalamenti gives then the film a ludic tone and let us all think of David Lynch. Of course, in Secretary we are miles away from certain atmospheres, however, the photography and scenery, a sunny California hiding its taste for the surreal and the perverse, seem to wink at the spectator in that interesting direction.